Victoria Azarenka defeated Li Na, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, to capture the 2013 Australian Open, defending her title and effectively ending the streak of players not named Williams or Sharapova crumbling in big moments after experiencing previous success.
Azarenka won her first Grand Slam in Melbourne last year and gained the No. 1 ranking — which has kind of served as a death rattle for future Grand Slam title hopes in the women's game recently — and hasn't relinquished it since. Had she lost to Li, Serena Williams would have overtaken her. Williams, who lost in the quarterfinals, will move up to No. 2, bumping Maria Sharapova, who lost to Li in the semis.
Azarenka didn't play her best tennis, hitting only 18 winners to Li's 36, but broke the 30-year-old China native nine times, which was good enough to win. Azarenka collapsed into her chair with emotion after the win, and her coach told USA Today that "she suffered to win that one."